SAMMY KEYES AND THE ART OF DECEPTION

Shenanigans take a back seat to affairs of the heart in this teenaged Sherlock’s eighth outing. Assigned to find and analyze “art” at either a local gallery or an upcoming Renaissance Faire, Sammy tries both, and stumbles into a tangle of vicious intrigue, inflated egos, hidden motives, and general bad behavior—not unlike junior high school, where Sammy continues to be whipsawed by encounters with archenemy Heather Acosta and her friendly, disturbingly attractive brother Casey. Having foiled an attempted robbery at the gallery that looks more and more like a setup, Sammy smells something fishy—and finds an unlikely ally in her grandma, with whom she lives illegally in a seniors-only apartment, and whose budding romance with Sammy’s septuagenarian confidante Hudson seems headed for the rocks after a charming artist turns his head. Despite robberies, shocking revelations, mysterious strangers, and pumped-up language (“Anyhow, I blasted over to art class, and the minute I blew through the door . . . ”), Sammy’s preoccupation with Gram’s love life and getting her own feelings for Casey in order, along with ruminations about good art vs. bad, orient this episode more toward character and personal issues than its suspenseful, danger-laden precursors. Still, thoughtful readers will understand from Sammy’s anguish, when she sees a work of art that had moved her profoundly destroyed by its larcenous owner, that there are moral felonies at least as wicked as the more conventional legal kind. (Fiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: April 8, 2003

ISBN: 0-375-81176-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2003

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A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy.

THRIVE

From the Overthrow series , Vol. 3

This is the moment teens Seth, Anaya, and Petra have both been anticipating and dreading ever since aliens called cryptogens began attempting to colonize the Earth: the chance to defend their planet.

In an earlier volume, Seth, Anaya, and Petra began growing physical characteristics that made them realize they were half alien. Seth has wings, Petra has a tail, and Anaya has fur. They also have the power of telepathy, which Anaya uses to converse with Terra, a cryptogen rebel looking for human allies who could help stop the invasion of Earth. Terra plans to use a virus stored in the three teens’ bodies to disarm the flyers, which are the winged aliens that are both masterminding the invasion and enslaving the other species of cryptogens known as swimmers and runners. But Terra and her allies can’t pull any of this off without the help of Anaya, Seth, and Petra. Although the trio is anxious about their abilities, they don’t have much of a choice—the entire human race is depending on them for salvation. Like its predecessors, this trilogy closer is fast-paced and well structured. Despite its post-apocalyptic setting, the story is fundamentally character driven, and it is incredibly satisfying to watch each protagonist overcome their inner battles within the context of the larger human-alien war. Main characters read as White.

A thrilling conclusion to a beautifully crafted, heart-stopping trilogy. (Science fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984894-80-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Clever as ever—if slow off the mark—and positively laden with tics, quirks, and puns.

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE RIDDLE OF AGES

From the Mysterious Benedict Society series , Vol. 4

When deadly minions of archvillain Ledroptha Curtain escape from prison, the talented young protégés of his twin brother, Nicholas Benedict, reunite for a new round of desperate ploys and ingenious trickery.

Stewart sets the reunion of cerebral Reynie Muldoon Perumal, hypercapable Kate Wetherall, shy scientific genius George “Sticky” Washington, and spectacularly sullen telepath Constance Contraire a few years after the previous episode, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (2009). Providing relief from the quartet’s continual internecine squabbling and self-analysis, he trucks in Tai Li, a grubby, precociously verbal 5-year-old orphan who also happens to be telepathic. (Just to even the playing field a bit, the bad guys get a telepath too.) Series fans will know to be patient in wading through all the angst, arguments, and flurries of significant nose-tapping (occasionally in unison), for when the main action does at long last get under way—the five don’t even set out from Mr. Benedict’s mansion together until more than halfway through—the Society returns to Nomansan Island (get it?), the site of their first mission, for chases, narrow squeaks, hastily revised stratagems, and heroic exploits that culminate in a characteristically byzantine whirl of climactic twists, triumphs, and revelations. Except for brown-skinned George and olive-complected, presumably Asian-descended Tai, the central cast defaults to white; Reynie’s adoptive mother is South Asian.

Clever as ever—if slow off the mark—and positively laden with tics, quirks, and puns. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-45264-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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